The life of an academic editor is often a thankless task, working in the background with little acknowledgement of the hours spent at the keyboard. With that in mind, and to give you insight into who is behind the scenes actually editing your papers, we’re pleased to launch “Meet the Team”, where our hard-working, gifted editing team share more about their backgrounds as well as thoughts on editing and academic writing.
In this interview our Managing Editor, Business & Economics, Dr Magali Burnichon, tells us about her experience, views and suggestions for authors.
Could you tell us a little more about your educational background?
I completed my PhD in Gender and Sexuality Studies from University College London (UCL) in 2018, where I focused on queer representations on TV. I obtained my MA in the same field from Swansea University in 2012, following a BA in English Literature, Language, and Civilisation. Over the years, I had the opportunity to explore different literary fields, as well as diverse subjects in the humanities and the social sciences.
I also have a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Pharmacology and Neurobiology. These multiple influences in my formative years are essential in my daily work, as they allow me to navigate between disciplines and to edit articles from different fields with different requirements in terms of writing and structure.
How long have you worked in the academic editing industry? Why are you interested in this line of work?
I started almost four years ago when I was researching and writing my PhD. As a graduate student, I helped organised a conference at UCL and had to read abstracts from potential conference participants. This task made me realise that many authors struggle to write a good abstract, which unfortunately may prevent their work from getting the interest it deserves. From there, I got interested in the writing process and the importance of clarity in the organisation of ideas.
Academic editing is an extremely interesting industry. I get to work on cutting-edge research and help authors improve the presentation of their work, which will hopefully be published in leading academic journals. Knowing that my work as an academic editor has an impact on current research in different fields is very rewarding.
Do you have any suggestions for non-native English authors to enhance their chances of successful publication?
A recurring occurrence in the various documents I edit is overly long sentences with convoluted arguments. In almost every paper I edit, there is at least one sentence of 5–6 lines of text attempting to convey various ideas in one go. Ultimately, this type of sentence rarely makes sense and muddles the argument.
Therefore, my advice to non-native English authors would be to be concise when presenting their ideas. They should use a combination of short and medium-length sentences and remember that presenting one idea per sentence generally improves the readability of a paper. Shorter sentences are often clearer than long sentences; they can allow an author to present the key points of their argument. Medium-length sentences can then be used to expand their points.
What are the most common grammatical errors that you come across when editing journal papers?
Subject–verb agreement errors are probably the most common errors. Inconsistent verb tense is a close second. Another error that I often see is the use of both “although” and “but” in the same sentence to present a contrasting argument.
We will be speaking with another member of our editing team in the next issue. Do keep an eye out for it!
Meanwhile if you are looking for a professional editing service to improve your chances of publication success, check out our academic editing service which is trusted by many leading academics!